Mon - November 27, 2006
New Blog - My God, It's Full of Nerds!
My new blog is
MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF NERDS
This blog will no longer be updated.
Posted at 09:41 PM
Sun - November 12, 2006
Spider-Man 3 Trailer
On Thursday Sony released the new trailer to Spider-Man 3. See it here.
There's Sandman! The symbiote! Gwen Stacy! (One brief shot.) Tofer Grace looking so much like Tobey Magurie it's a little eerie!
But where's Venom?
There he is, in this unfinished trailer that somehow made its way to YouTube. Check it out now before it disappears in a puff of litigation.
How very odd that the Venom CGI is finished, but the Spider-Man stuff isn't. Either Sony planned on revealing Venom early and changed their minds, or this is the most clever bait-n-switch ever.
Posted at 09:42 PM
Stomp Tokyo's 10th Anniversary!
This week marks the 10th anniversary of Stomp Tokyo. If you want to read more about that, check out Chris' retrospective.
What does that mean for this blog? Well, the big thing is that I'm going to be posting all my genre TV and movie reviews at the new relaunched Stomp Tokyo 2.0. (Stomp Tokyo 0.2 if you're a Cyberman.)
Obviously, that takes away most of what I was doing here. I'm planning on changing the purpose, and name, of this blog in the near future. I also want to switch over to Wordpress, but if that sounds familiar it's because I tried it before and failed spectacularly. Maybe I'll have better luck this time.
Posted at 09:28 PM
Mon - October 30, 2006
Torchwood (Episode 1, "Everything Changes"; Episode 2, "Day One"; and Episode 3, "The Ghost Machine")
Torchwood is the new spin-off of the new Doctor Who, and the fact that it's aired three episodes already makes it three times as successful as the last Doctor Who spin-off, K9 and Company. The central characters in Torchwood are the members of the Cardiff branch of the titular organization. They include Capt. Jack Harkness (from the first season of Doctor Who, played by John Barrowman), Toshiko Sato (Naoki Mori), Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), and Suzie Costello (Indira Varma). They're tasked with investigating alien technology and keeping it out of the hands of the general populace, but it's not really clear by who.
"And this button is my intravenous Viagra pump."
The first episode, "Everything Changes," focuses on Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), a police officer, who sees the Torchwood gang bring a recently murdered man back to life, at least for a minute. She tries to track down the organization and Capt. Jack, and after a particularly disturbing encounter with a homicidal alien, she finds their secret headquarters. The episode is a pretty standard introduction to the team, with some added intrigue of a serial killer that stalking the city with an unusual blade.
Big deal, so Jack Nicholson went outside without his make-up.
The second episode, "Day One," has Gwen join Torchwood, just in time to investigate a recently crashed meteorite that contains a gaseous life form. The alien escapes and possesses a young woman, and anyone the woman has sex with is disintegrated because the alien wants "orgasmic energy." The plot is a bald face rip-off of the new wave cult classic Liquid Sky (1982), except that was sort of a comedy and Torchwood plays it straight. Playing such a stupid concept straight isn't really a good thing.
In the third episode, "The Ghost Machine," Torchwood retrieves an alien artifact that allows the user to experience events from the past. The problem is that the visions are so compelling that the user needs to act on them. And then there's a the device's other half...
"So... Tom Cruise or The Joker?"
The best part of the series, predictably, is John Barrowman as the omnisexual Harkness. He's still got charisma to spare. The rest of the cast is pretty good, especially Myles.
So far the connections to Doctor Who are being kept subtle. The other members of Torchwood don't really know who Capt. Jack is, and we still haven't found out how he got from the future to Cardiff in the present. His resurrection by Rose has left him with a very interesting condition. Harkness also covets a dismembered hand that, if the music is to be believed, is the one the Doctor lost back in the "The Christmas Invasion." Toshiko Sato is probably the Dr. Sato from "Aliens of London" (it's the same actress), or it may be her sister. Gwen Cooper is played by Eve Myles, who played Gwenyth in "The Unquiet Dead," so there may be some sort of family relationship there. No monsters from Doctor Who yet, though it looks like the fourth episode is flirting with Cybermen.
Posted at 10:47 PM
Death of a President
Death of a President appears to be creating some controversy, but the finished product isn't really that outrageous. Yes, this fictional documentary does feature the assassination of President Bush in Chicago in 2007, but the movie is more of a realistic political essay than the anti-Bush screed some people seem to be imagining. I suppose that using a real president makes it exploitive to some degree, but the assassination itself is portrayed so quickly it may as well be offscreen.
"We must stay the course on never saying 'stay the course'."
The movie is mostly made up of interviews with various fictional people, including a Bush speechwriter, an FBI agent in charge of security, some witnesses and a early suspects in the shooting, etc. It's about as gripping as any talky documentary on any subject can be. There is a plot twist towards the end, but the documentary style keeps the twist from being presented in a very dramatic way. There's very little story here for a 90 minute movie.
Posted at 09:49 PM
Sun - October 15, 2006
For Your Height Only/Challenge of the Tiger
I've been sick for for the last week, but I did get to take in this double feature DVD from Mondo Macabro.
I've been meaning to see For Your Height Only (1979) for a while, just because the movie has quite the reputation. In case you haven't heard of it, it's a Filipino James Bond parody starring a midget. Now that I've seen it, I can say I've seen it. And that's about it. For Your Height Only is a totally bland collection of James Bond-ish scenes, with the only difference being that Agent 00 (Weng Weng) is short. Agent 00 talks to women, and is short. Agent 00 beats people up, and is short. Agent 00 is in a gunfight, and is short. Just about the only real joke in the movie is that Agent 00 is looking for the evil Mr. Giant, and you can probably figure out the punchline there.
Challenge of the Tiger (1980), on the other hand, I had never heard of, but it was far more entertaining. This Bruce Le film (he stars and directs) is also broadly an espionage thriller, centering on the search for a secret formula. Now that I think about it, I think the formula was for some sort male sterility drug. Le and American actor Richard Harrison are CIA agents, and together they track the formula from Spain to Hong Kong and finally to Macau.
Challenge of the Tiger is an odd film. On one hand it's pretty cheap looking, with at least some scenes that look like they were shot in hotel rooms to save money. Oh, and there's scene at a horse race where all the CIA agents and terrorists are wearing nametags, suggesting they just filmed at some event that was going on at the track. On the other hand, the movie does have copious location work in Spain and China, and the cast includes martial arts heavy hitters like Yang Sze and Wang Jang Lee.
Presumably Richard Harrison was included to give the movie some selling power in English speaking countries, but I wonder what his contract read like. I suspect that there was a clause about how he wanted to share minimal screen time with Bruce Le, or maximum screen time with naked breasts, or both. Harrison doesn't have much to do in the film, especially towards the end, but he is around for almost all the scenes of gratuitous female nudity, and there are a lot of those. Seriously, Challenge of the Tiger may set some sort of new record for nudity in an otherwise serious martial arts film. An early scene has two topless women playing tennis – in slow motion! That's setting the bar exceedingly high (or low) right there.
Posted at 09:08 PM
Sat - September 30, 2006
Tangled Web Syndrome
Following up my post from earlier this week , SecureWorks has announced that the presentation David Maynor was supposed to give today, the one that would give "the complete story" of his Wi-Fi hack and Apple computers, has been cancelled.
Surprise, surprise, surprise.
SecureWorks also announced they're working with Apple now and won't comment anymore, which will give the conspiracy minded something to theorize about for a while. However, I think the simplest explanation is that Maynor and Ellch's hack simply wasn't what they eventually implied it was, and the publicity got away from them.
Posted at 10:20 AM
Fri - September 29, 2006
Foley, we should have known it was you!
Congressman Mark Foley of Florida resigned his seat today because of a breaking scandal involving a variety of sexually suggestive e-mails and instant message conversations he had with underage Capitol pages. It should go without saying that Foley was the leader of the House caucus on missing and exploited children. I remember him once making a big deal about how "we track library books better than we do sexual predators." We now know he was speaking from experience.
Posted at 11:30 PM
Tue - September 26, 2006
Destroy All Humans! 2: Make War Not Love
Destroy all Humans! 2 is coming out in three weeks? And it's going to be set in the sixties? And it features hippies, the Avengers, and giant Japanese monsters?
How did I not know about this until today?
Posted at 11:15 PM
The Tangled Web Syndrome
As someone interested in all sorts of hoaxes, frauds, and weird claims, there's a pattern of events I've seen over and over again.
- It starts when someone makes a sensational but unlikely claim. Said claim will be buttressed with some minimal concrete evidence.
(Note that when I say "unlikely", I'm using the term very broadly. Anything from "mentos dropped in Diet Coke will make a 10-foot tall geyser" to "My baby's father is a space alien.")
- Believers will rally around the claim, usually because it fits with some well established worldview.
- More skeptical minds will point out obvious problems with the evidence presented.
- The believers will respond by spinning conspiracy theories, or parsing criticisms of the original evidence for the slightest error, no matter how inconsequential.
- The original claimant, or a prominent believer in communication with the claimant, will admit that the original evidence may appear lacking, but that final irrefutable proof exists and that it will be revealed "soon."
And generally that's where the active part of the process ends. The believers and skeptics may argue on for a while, but the promised proof will remain tantalizingly the stuff of the near future. The original claim is either destroyed when the original claimants are proven frauds, or it just kind of fades away. In rare cases it becomes the basis of a new religion.
I bring this pattern up because I'm watching it being played out in every particular right now on the web. Back in August David Maynor & Jon Ellch, two researchers for the computer security company SecureWorks, claimed at a conference that they had found a Wi-Fi exploit that would let them hijack just about any computer with a Wi-Fi card. They showed a video demonstrating the process, and the machine they hacked was an Apple MacBook. The next day Washington Post tech writer Brian Krebs wrote about the demonstration under the headline "Hijacking a MacBook in 60 Seconds or Less." Obviously, the idea here was gain maximum publicity by suggesting that Mac OS X's rock-solid reputation for security was in jeopardy.
However, Maynor and Ellch's demo had problems. Most obviously, the hack was supposed to work on any Wi-Fi card, but for some reason Maynor and Ellch had a third-party, external Wif-Fi card attached to the MacBook. All MacBooks have a Wi-Fi card (what Apple calls an Airport card) built in, so what was the purpose of the extra card? Maynor and Ellch later claimed that they used the external card in the demo because Apple "leaned" on them to not do the demo on a completely stock MacBook, but they've offered no further explanation or proof of this claim. (It probably also didn't help that Maynor gets defensive about being accused of fraud at the end of the short video that people were seeing for the first people. Only the magician about to cut a woman in half actually says, "What you're about the see isn't a trick.")
The most fanatical believer in the Maynor and Ellch hack would probably be ZDnet's columnist George Ou. Ou has been picking apart Apple's statements on the subject, trying to prove that the company's non-ambiguous statements on the hack still have enough wiggle room to "prove" Maynor and Ellch were right. He's also been claiming to have "sensitive information" and that "soon things will get really interesting." It's the old claim that proof is just around the corner, but really, at this point it's too late. If Maynor and Ellch could do what they claimed to Krebs, they should have been able to prove it by now. Easily. They should be able to walk up to any Apple Store with their Dell laptop and restart the machines inside remotely. Ou and the others like him have an amazing ability to ignore this, and expect us to await the "better" evidence that will prove their claim, rather just having the claim demonstrated for all to see. Now Maynor and Ou are saying the final, definitive, ultimate, gooey, proof will be unveiled this weekend. We'll see.
Posted at 10:57 PM
Mon - September 25, 2006
New TV Shows, Week One
Some scattered thoughts on the the first week of new network TV.
- For Pete's sake, why aren't more of you people watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip? I netflixed the pilot and it was one of the best hours of TV I've seen recently. I'm going to be really pissed if it gets cancelled early. Then again, I wonder if the figures weren't depressed a little by the fact that so many people had seen the pilot already...
- On the same disc I got Studio 60 on NBC included the pilot to Kidnapped. Good cast, silly premise. I'm not really sure how you stretch the kidnapping of one kid over 20+ episodes and keep it interesting and realistic. Then again, despite the documentary style, maybe Kidnapped isn't supposed to be realistic. In the pilot the kidnappers instigate the kidnapping on a busy New York street, three or four people are killed in the ensuing shootout (two bodyguards and at least one, maybe two of the kidnappers, I forget), and yet somehow the whole thing is kept a secret from the police and the FBI? That's less likely than most of the stuff we saw on Lost last season.
- Can someone tell me why I should watch the second episode of Jericho? It's the most obvious Lost rip-off yet -- the residents of a small town in Kansas see a nuclear explosion and lose all contact with the outside world, so they have to form a new society, blah, blah, blah. Unlike Lost, the scenario isn't as mysterious as the writers seem to think it is, and the characters are completely uninteresting. As near as I can tell the biggest character mystery is where Skeet Ulrich has been. The only mystery I want to answer less than where Skeet Ulrich has been is what Madonna's armpits smell like after a workout.
Posted at 10:42 PM
Sun - September 24, 2006
I think the original title, "Truth, Justice and the American Way" was probably a better one for this biopic on George Reeves. It's a pretty good movie, greatly helped by a stellar cast including Ben Affleck as Reeves, Adrien Brody as a private detective hired to investigate Reeve's apparent suicide, Diane Lane as Toni Mannix and Bob Hoskins as Eddie Mannix. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the movie is that, unlike what I gather about the other Hollywood mystery movie in theaters right now, The Black Dahlia, is that in the end Hollywoodland actually comes down on the side of the simplest and most obvious explanation for Reeves' death. Oh, and I liked how the color slowly leeches into the movie as the story progresses. (The still above is from the beginning of the movie.) Beyond that, prove Hugo Chavez wrong and go see it while you still have a chance.
Posted at 10:15 PM
Tue - September 19, 2006
I am so behind on movies. Somehow, after a summer of almost nothing, like 10 movies opened in the last three weeks that I want to see, and on the three weeks I'd be least likely to go see them. Better go see the oldest ones first...
I'm actually at a loss to figure out which Dick Cheney joke I should use.
Crank is not the Walter Matthau biopic I've been waiting for, but essentially Grand Theft Auto: The Movie. The flick makes no attempt to hide its aspirations to be Grand Theft Auto: The Movie, with video game-themed titles and only the barest attempt to make the main character less than completely reprehensible.
That main character is Chevy, as played by Jason Statham. Chevy is a hitman who has been poisoned with the "Beijing Cocktail," a drug that will kill him unless he keeps his adrenaline going. Chevy therefore goes around starting fights and stealing cars while trying to either kill the gang that poisoned him or find an antidote.
"I wonder if the fat guy would let me borrow that jacket?"
The movie has a completely over-the-top style, with more edits than even Michael Bay or Uwe Boll would think are sensible and many tasteless scenes. Still, I can't say I didn't enjoy it. I laughed at quite a bit of the dialogue, and there were some nice touches. I liked how they did the scene where Chevy drives his car into a mall completely matter-of-factly, with the transition to indoors only happening out of focus in the background as Chevy talks on a cell phone. I liked the negotiation scene with Chevy and gangster than happens with both men completely clothed in a pool. I liked how Google Earth was used for the scene transitions. I especially liked the scene where Chevy tries to run off an accidental adrenaline overdose he gives himself. And can anyone do a better job of walking purposefully than Jason Statham? He sometimes carries himself in a bizarre way that only makes sense if you remember he used to be a diver on the British National Team and that's how divers approach the end of the board.
Towards the end Crank bites off more than it can chew, with a very fake looking helicopter fight above Los Angeles and an attempt to be poetic that is not going to fool anyone who has watched more that five minutes of the rampant gunfire, dismemberment, drug use, exploitation of women, carjacking, public sex scenes, head wounds, vehicular crashes, or poor hygene that have come before.
Posted at 11:33 PM
Another New Podcast
Hey, only a week between podcasts!
Stomp Tokyo Podcast #31
This one is a bit of a mess.
Posted at 11:02 PM
Tue - September 12, 2006
Dragon*Con 2006, or Geekstock (Part 2)
- Apparently the copyright cops were out in force, so for the first two days of the con there weren't many bootleg DVDs around. Some of the usual suspects had their racks full of PD titles from Alpha Video. By Sunday it must have been decided that the coast was clear, because the bootlegs spontaneously generated on several tables. Over the weekend I picked up Diskotek's release of War in Space (1977), as well as bootleg releases of Turn A Gundam, the new Timeslip, a hopefully upgraded version of Battle Royale, and First of Legend (a really crappy version as it turn out -- when is that going to come out on DVD in HK?).
- The biggest draw at the con for me this year were the Mythbusters. Grant, Tori and Kari (sigh...) were there. At least all of them were there on Sunday. Grant and Kari weren't able to make it on Saturday because the plane they were flying in on caught on fire. You can imagine how many times they had to swear they had nothing to do with it. The 'busters brought a couple of "blooper reels" to show. A big part of one of those was a whole semi-produced segment for the show about fart myths, or as they called them because Discovery didn't like the word "fart," "flatis myths." This segment included testing the myth that pretty women don't pass gas by putting a hydrogen sulfide sensor and a microphone down Kari's pants, and high-speed footage of Adam lighting his own "flatis" on fire. For some reason Discovery opted to not show any of this. In terms of things we will see, Tori promised that next season they'll have a blast twice as big as the concrete truck. It wasn't really clear to me what myth that would in aid of investigating... but I guess it doesn't really matter.
Posted at 11:09 PM
My name is Scott Hamilton and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida. My e-mail is Scott (at) stomptokyo.com.
Stomp Tokyo Video Reviews - My website, all about cult movies. Created by myself and Chris Holland.
Giant Monster Movies - My site devoted to a database of giant monster movies.
Cult DVD Zone - Stomp Tokyo's store full of rare movies and TV shows on DVD-R.
B-Movie Message Board - Message board for Stomp Tokyo.
Blue Glow - Chris Holland's weblog, mostly about TV.
Reel Shame - About the book I co-wrote.
My .Mac Homepage - Movies that I'm sharing.
My Flickr Page - Pictures that I'm sharing.
Blogs of Interest
Blue Glow - Chris Holland's weblog, mostly about TV.
FilmBuffStuff - Stomp Tokyo's shopping blog.
Prawn Bites - Ask him about kung fu movies.
Tachyon-City - Nathan of Cold Fusion Video Reveiw's blog.
Yes, I Know - Freex of The Bad Movie Report's blog.
Background Radiati0n - The inane ramblings of a Brit living in the USA.
Make Friends the Joe Bannerman Way - "Maria Ford Forever", indeed.
The Greatest Filmmaker of All Time
The Greatest Movie of All Time
Special Thanks To:
Most Recent DVD Purchases
Battlestar Galactica Season 2.0 (2005)
Deadwood: The Complete First Season (2004)
The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection (1950's)
Robo Vampire/Devil's Dynamite (1988/1987)
Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974)
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 9 (1988)
The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season (1991-1992)
Hard Boiled (Import, 1992)
The John Woo Hero Collection (Import, 1986-1989)
Hand of Death (1976)
Bamboo house of Dolls (Import, 1974)
The Project A Series (Import, 1982-1987)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Total entries in this blog:
Published On: Dec 03, 2006 09:41 PM